On the 27th November 2011, something tragic and unimaginable thing happened, Gary Speed died. For those of us who, 24 hours earlier were watching football focus, it was an even bigger shock! In life, when something tragic or important happens we often remember where we were when we heard the news, such as the death of Michael Jackson, 9/11 and for the older generation the death of John Lennon and Princess Diana, and this was certainly was one of those.
The welsh football team were progressing so well, especially winning 4 out of the last 5 and nearly beating England, we would have drawn if Robbie Earnshaw had his shooting boots on. It wasn’t only the victories that put the smiles back on our faces, it was they way we won, with a fantastic playing style just like our own Swansea City and people were actually turning up and started supporting Wales again.
It wasn’t a co-incidence that we were playing well because Gary Speed implemented that style, and before he was appointed everyone was saying “He has no experience”. When about 7 years earlier another Welsh Great and now successful manager Mark Hughes took over, and we were on the brink of qualifying and if the Russians hadn’t of cheated “I don’t hold it against them” We would have gone through.
This was Mark Hughes’s first job and his experience as a player helped, as he could be someone the younger lads looked up to. Also since Gary Speed took over the players actually wanted to turn up and it didn’t matter whether it was a friendly against Estonia or a qualifier against England. This was the opposite 7 or 8 years ago when Sir Alex wouldn’t let Giggs play in friendlies.
Wales have a good group and arguably the closet group out of them all, apart from maybe Croatia there are no certainties in any game and this would be out best chance to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958. Then, suddenly out of the blue, Gary died. However I know it is hard and although we have to move on the family will always struggle to move on and maybe qualifying will give them strength because maybe they can look back and think “Gary started this”
We can’t, however, forget John Toshack who gave a lot of the youngsters their first caps and I think Wales v Macedonia will be a very emotional game for everyone and I hope that the Wales fans will not forget what Big Tosh did and boo him. Chris Coleman is a fantastic choice as a manager and his press conference was very emotional and I think he will hopefully inspire the Wales players, and the whole country to move on as best we can, and qualify for Gary. Will it be easy, no it won’t
There were only really two candidates for me, Chirs and Hartson, with the latter having no managerial experience.
I wish John the best and he hasn’t had an easy life since retiring as a footballer, having had Testicular Cancer and nearly dieing. I hope he gets the managerial break he deserves and that he will one day follow the footsteps of his friends Gary Speed and Chris Coleman and become the manager of Wales. Lets hope we can qualify for World Cup 2014 Rest In Peace Gary Speed. GONE BUT NEVER FORGTTEN!